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Boost for East Antrim ‘staycations’ with new tourist accommodation


East Antrim’s “staycations” are to be given a boost with new tourist accommodation earmarked for development.


A planning application has been lodged with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for six glamping pods at Muddersleigh Hill, half a kilometre from Whitehead Golf Club at Ballystrudder Road, Islandmagee.


Consultation is taking place over an application for four glamping pods and parking at Tower Road in Carnlough.


An application has also been received for change of use of a residential property to two-bedroom self-catering accommodation at Portmuck Road in Islandmagee.


Last month, nine “shepherds’ huts” for Galgorm Resort and Spa were given the go-ahead by the Borough Council.


On Tuesday, Tourism NI’s Chief Executive, John McGrillen met with tourism industry representatives from businesses in Antrim and Newtownabbey includingThe Rabbit Hotel & Retreat andThe Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick, to hear how they are weathering the Covid pandemic.


Mr McGrillen said: “This has been a challenging time for the tourism and hospitality sector which is extremely important to our local economy. The Tourism Recovery Action Plan will play a key role in helping the industry recover and successful delivery of the plan will require us all to work together in partnership.


“Recovery will take time, however with the successful roll-out of the vaccine programme, the lifting of restrictions and the opening up of the Common Travel Area, I am confident that by the end of 2022 the tourism industry in Northern Ireland could be back to 80 per cent of the activity and employment levels of 2019 and see a full recovery by the end of 2024.”


Janice Gault, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF), said recently:


“Over the summer, the staycation market has been performing well and the sector is keen to see travel from other destinations restored.


“Uncertainty about travel does little to restore confidence and encourage visitors. There is an appetite for visitors to come to Northern Ireland in the autumn but testing, conflicting regulations and lack of clarity are doing little to promote tourism’s cause.”



Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)